32B's Blog

…where I write my words

A Bronze PR

When I signed up for the Chicago Half I knew one other race I wanted to run – the Lawndale 5K.  I used to attend an afterschool program with this organization.  Once a week for about 4 yrs during high school.  Last year I ran their 2nd annual 5k race and got 2nd place in the 25-29 age group clocking 24:44 mins.  This year I wondered how my legs would feel if I raced 13.1 miles Sunday and then raced 3.1 miles that following Saturday – I had to try it.  I never registered until the day of (yesterday) because I wasn’t sure but I made it there at about 7:45am ready to run.  Nothing was set-up yet so I didn’t officially complete my registration until close to 8:30am which sucked because the race was scheduled to start at 9am.  I ran to the bathroom, pinned my number on, did a snippet of a warm up, did all of 2 stretches, and lined up at the starting line.  Not a big race but I wanted to participate in my ‘hood where I semi grew up amongst my people.  I never knew this race would awaken my competitive spirit. 

My heart was racing because this was a shorter distance which meant I had less time to correct a mistake or a too slow/fast pace.  “Only 3 miles” was what I kept repeating to myself when I had to beg myself to calm down, enjoy the run, and just finish.  No expectations.  Only to beat my time from last year.  The race starts.  I go out hard and then have to remind myself that this was mistake #1 so I better slow down.  I made sure to clock each mile split too.  Mile 1 = 7:12 mins.  Mile 2 = 7:39 mins.  I was slowing down.  Not sure if that was good or bad but it was certainly too late to worry about it.  Mile 3 = 7:45 mins and I was staring at the finish line ahead of me.  Now, I have been running since high school and I know that there aren’t many black girls or black women who run long distance.  It didn’t bother me anymore because, truth be told, long distance is not for everyone but as I ran this race I felt myself fighting for a position.  I had no idea which one of these girls were in my age group because not a single one looked to be 30-34 yrs old but, neither do I so I’ve been told.  I just tried to run my best race and finish strong.  Somewhere during mile 3 I got a side stitch and almost cussed out loud.  It’s been years since I had one of those and it hurt and frustrated me like hell.  Here I am trying to maintain my pace without losing too much steam but every time I inhaled it felt like there was a rock sitting underneath my ribcage against my right lung just scraping my tissue painfully each and every time I took a breath which was not optional – I kinda have to breath.  I stretched my hand overhead while running and it lessened the pain but didn’t make it go away.  I did it 2 more times still cussing in my head – “dammit you fuckin side stitch I’m trying to race here and don’t have time for this shit!!”  At this point, you just run through the pain.

On the way back to the starting line, other black women in the race but further behind me cheered and screamed motivation my way.  With each “you go gurl!” I tried to pick up the pace and with each “stay strong sistah!” I tried to make these strangers proud but I felt defeated.  Although I finished in 23:23 mins which is one whole minute faster than last year, it pissed me off that I got 3rd in my age group.  Yes, I was the first black chick to cross the finish line but I felt this strong urge to not accept just an age group award – I actually want to win.  The entire race.  What the hell is wrong with me?!  The woman who won finished a good 3 minutes faster than I.  Three minutes!  In the world of running, she was already changed eating lunch by the time my butt crossed the finish line.  My insides raged.  I felt heated.  I congratulated every women who finished in front me of (about 5) while taking a mental snapshot of their faces so I’d have a target.  This was supposed to be a fun run – not competitive.  You win some and you lose some.  No.  Not this time.  I promised myself  I’d train and finish in the top 3 next year.  Not in my age group.  No, I won’t be restricted or congratulated because I did good for my age.  I wanna kick some young chick’s ass.  I haven’t felt like this since high school when I got 2nd place in the City Championships to some chick who had just started running that year.  I memorized her name and face.  Every race for the next 2 years she finished behind me and I finally won 1st place in the same championship race my senior year.  Defeat.  It has a strange way of waking up a spirit that may compel you further than you ever thought you wanted to go.

Other than that, I accept my bronze medal and my new PR happy that I decided to run this year.  I shouldn’t cuss and don’t normally but when it comes to sports I turn into someone else – almost.  Naturally, you slow down as you age.  Naturally, I want to test that.  Naturally, I cannot accept the status quo or barriers.  Naturally, I have to be the best although I could care less in any other race.  Black women were asking me how I train, where I train, and how long I have been running.  It was as if I had actually won the race.  They had no idea I felt unsatisfied.  I shrugged at the race and my time like it was nothing forgetting that most people cannot walk much less run.  Forgetting that most cannot finish 1 mile much less 3 to get upset that they didn’t finish those 3 fast enough.  Forgetting that the fun is in having the ability to run instead of being forced to watch from the sidelines.  To them, I was amazing.  I had no secret training, no running club to recommend, or tips other than to stay consistent no matter what.  The lady just shook her head when I told her that and to not let too much time pass between runs or she will physically feel like she is starting all over again.  Inside, I felt I had let someone down but I’m pretty sure it was just me.  Outside, I let it go and watched my 9 yr old run in the kid dash.  My calf muscles are sore but I feel good.  Next year.  Lord willing of course.

September 19, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Last 3 = Hardest 3

I finished the 2010 Chicago Half Marathon this Sunday.  My training had some hiccups since my kids returned from summer vacation so I was unable to do any planned long runs or mile repeats.  That said, I went into the race hoping to break 2 hours at least totally throwing my original goal of 1 hour and 45 minutes to the wind.  This was my first time racing this distance and my second time running this distance ever so 1:45 would have been an awesome accomplishment.  Since I had no added pressure only asking my body to complete each mile at or below a 9 min/mile pace, I was calm.  My thinking was to finish the first 10 miles which I have grown accumstomed to and just say, “only 3 more miles to go”.  I can do 3 miles in my sleep.  What I didn’t anticipate was how those last 3 miles would feel after a wonderful 10 miles.  During my last 13 mile run around my neighborhood, I realized that I needed something to drink but I hadn’t brought anything with me.  I can run 10 miles w/o fuel or hydration…13 miles, not so much.  Lesson learned.  Instead of starting out fast pumped with adrenaline and excitement, I held back disciplined and finished my 1st mile in 9:13 minutes.  “Too slow” I thought as I pressed the “Lap” button on my watch to keep track of each split.  I completely ran pass the Mile 2 marker because it was on the other side of the course but I clocked my Mile 3 at 17:03 which is a little over 8:30 min/mile.  Ok cool.

Mile 4 I completely lost my ever-loving mind.  I was so busy passing slow folks, getting around groups of people, and making my way over to Gatorade tables and back into the race that I clocked a 7:30 for Mile 4.  Chick, slow your ass down!  This was the game I played for the first 10 miles.  At each clock, I recorded my time by pressing “Lap” on my watch and I gauged how fast or how slow I needed to alter my pace.  The 7:30 felt fast because my abs started to tighten and my thighs did too a little bit but I made sure I slowed my pace so I would have a fighting chance of finishing strong instead of begging someone to drag me through the finish line.  But something happened after mile 10.  I got to the Mile 10 marker, pressed “Lap”, grabbed not one but two cups of Gatorade, stopped for about 60 secs to make sure I got every drop of liquid into my mouth instead of on my face & shirt, and then I started back running.  I did this to ensure my body made it pass Mile 10 because, as I mentioned earlier, this would be the 2nd time my body has ever completed this distance.  Half way through Mile 11, my fingertips started to tingle.  I frowned because this was a new feeling.  What did that mean?  I probably needed fuel, food, a gel pack but I hadn’t brought any.  My fingertips tingled all the way to the finish line which would have been a minor issue if my feet hadn’t started tingling as well.  It began in my shoes.  I felt like my feet were fatiguing fast and if I wasn’t careful, I was going to hit the pavement in a mile or two.  I kept running.  I checked my breathing.  I closed my mouth to check my control.  I wasn’t gasping.  I wasn’t laboring.  My breathing was completely awesome but my legs were not feeling too well.  Hell, physically my body was hitting a wall. 

My pace slowed.  Not because I consciously made the effort to but more like driving a car on fumes.  I kept pressing the gas pedal trying to will it to make it to the finish line without stopping to walk because my fear was if I stopped to walk, that walk would allow the tingling to take over, then I may very well pass out, and I would not finish.  Finishing isn’t the most important thing but, maybe it’s just me, I wanted to finish with or without my legs.  There’s food at the finish  line…..I just needed to get there and as soon as possible.  Those last 3 miles became a fight to the finish.  It was harder to adjust my pace because I was working on borrowed reserves to still be upright at all.  Finishing one of those last 3 miles under 9 mins was difficult and I think I only did it once at 8:53.  Then I looked up as I physically felt weak and saw the 2 hour pace girl just ahead of me.  For those who do not run, you line up by your expected finishing time (mine being 2 hours).  Each pace has a “pacer”, someone who holds the pace sign in the air and runs at the pace necessary to finish at or around that desired time.  Want to beat 2 hours?  Run faster than the 2 hour pace chick.  Want to finish in 2 hours?  Run with the 2 hour pace chick.  Mind you, I had pass the 2 hour pace chick miles earlier but somehow she had run right pass me.  Probably completely stupid in my current state, I didn’t wanna go out like that.  I picked up the pace totally calling my body’s bluff and ran after that bitch holding the 2 hour sign in her hand.  She became my focal point.  It took quite a while to catch her as I thought she had picked up the pace but it was really my body struggling to keep up.  Then I was right behind her, then I was next to her, and then I saw the “1/2 Mile To Go” sign and I ran pass her.

My heart quickened like I was being chased because I just knew the 2 hour pace chick was trying to dash my dreams so I ran as far away from her as I physically could.  I seriously willed myself to get away from her.  She is the enemy.  She cannot catch me.  She must not catch me.  I almost turned to look back over my shoulder but I didn’t.  I don’t have to look back….I have excellent peripheral vision so I’ll see her before she gets a chance to beat me again.  By now, I was passing the “1/4 Mile To Go” sign.  Spectators were yelling “just around this turn.  You are almost there” but after 12 miles “almost there” doesn’t mean shit.  “Almost there” would be literally 2 steps from the finish line.  Then my legs felt like they were quivering.  I looked around for the 2 hour pace girl…didn’t see her.  I looked up and saw a golden statue ahead but no finish line banner.  I realized my fingers were still tingling as well.  Then I saw the banner.  I saw the Mile 13 clock ahead to my right but I still couldn’t sprint to the finish.  I passed the clock and didn’t even bother pressing “Lap” on my watch.  I stepped over the sensor monitoring my time and thought to at least sprint the last 0.1 miles of this 13.1 mile race but my body was tingling all over so that was out of the question.  I crossed the finish line at 1 hour 56 minutes and 41 seconds (officially).  I pressed “Stop” on my watch and walked like a feeble old cripple through the crowds of people.  Each step took so much effort.  My legs were about to give but I kept moving afraid I’d fall if I stopped. 

Someone gave me a bottle of water, then a banana, a granola bar, and then a chocolate chip cookie.  Food.  I ate a small bite of cookie and drank half the bottle of water but it didn’t help.  A girl placed a medal around my neck, smiled & said “congratulations”.  I smiled a little bit and walked off.  I found a curb and sat down apologizing to my body as it literally took me about 20 minutes for the tingling to take over.  My shoes suddenly felt tight so I unlaced them and stretched the shoes open.  I waited until everything stopped tingling while I ate more of the cookie and drank all the water.  Eventually I got back up.  I went to do my business in a port-a-potty and then I ate a free slice of deep dish pizza.  By now, my body was feeling normal – tired and fatigued but definitely not dangerously depleted of fuel anymore although eating that pizza so soon after the race was not the best decision I have ever made.  But, I finished with an awesome medal and in beautiful weather!  Could not have asked for more perfect running weather.  The spectators were awesome with high school cheerleading squads and bands along the course, music, and many funny signs to read as people cheered for family/friends.  One sign said, “You people are totally awesome at physical exercise” lol stupid but it made me laugh.  And, fyi, I do not hate the 2 hour pace chick lol she was my motivation right when I needed it.  Next up?  I have no clue yet.  What I do know is that my running shoes have officially reached their last leg and entered retirement.  Now, I can finally go to Fleet Feet and use my $100 certificate towards a new pair of running shoes.  This is a long blog but I don’t plan to post much for the next week or two….I have homework to do, other things to do while I recover allowing my legs to rest, and I need to research midrace fuels the next time I decide to run longer than 10 miles.  Rookie mistake but thank God my body didn’t give out on me.  My actual medal is shown above….isn’t it pretty 🙂

September 13, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | 4 Comments

New Workout

So, this is my week of starting actual workouts to prepare my body for what I am asking it to do – complete a race in 8 minute/mile pace.  I have never finished a 5k (3 miles) in an 8 min/mile pace – prb because it’s just too fast for me.  Or, I just wasn’t prepared to run that fast.  I do not do well with workouts.  I do not do well with speed at all so I asked my high school coach what would work best for me.  In high school, we did lots of intervals and 800 meter repeats so I was naturally inclined to do 800 repeats since that is all I know.  He replied to my FB message (who is not on FB?!)  that I should do 1 mile repeats since my upcoming race is 10 miles, acknowledged that 1 mile repeats can be rough, and how it is even harder to do repeats alone.  He also said if I must do 800 meter repeats they should be negative splits which means I’ll finish each one a little faster than the last.  Reading this I wanted to do the 800 negative splits but I decided to do the 1 mile repeats instead.  He didn’t tell me at what pace to do them or even with how much break in-between so I kinda winged it. 

I jogged 2.5 miles to the track from my apt, stretched, and then began my workout.  It was decently tiring.  My goal was 8 min/mile which is 2 min/lap which is 30 sec/100 meters so I was checking my watch to make sure I hadn’t gone out too fast, whether I needed to slow down, and making sure I finished right at 8 minutes.  I did 3 mile repeats total.  1st: 8:00 2nd: 8:01 3rd: 7:55  The more miles I added the more my legs felt tired although I walked a lap between each one but I tend to recover fast.  I texted my coach and he later replied that I should do 5 repeats next time.  Great.  So, next week will be 5 one mile repeats at 8 min/mile pace.  I know I can do it but it is a mental battle to stay focused when you are constantly going around and around and around this 400 meter track.  If I was running in a park or forest preserve then I’ll have to make sure I can “feel” my pace instead of “see” my pace since I won’t know how fast or slow I am going until I reach the mile marker.  Feeling my pace is hard and I don’t think I have taught myself how to master that yet.  And, running on a track is technically 1600 meters long which is a little shorter than running an actual one mile distance route.  Afterwards, I jogged the 2.5 miles back home.

Tuesday, I jogged the same route to the same track and did the stands.  No hills near my house so this would have to do.  My thighs tightened once I reached the top of each stand and I grunted several times in fatigue while trying to make sure my form was good (don’t want any injuries) and pumped my arms when my thighs said “f*ck you I ain’t moving!”  A good leg workout.  I did both sides of the stadium stands twice.  That was all I had the energy and drive to do.  From that day, my right butt cheek has been cramping.  Not sure how to stretch a butt cheek.  I rub it but it just feels like I’m being freaky with myself lol I’m stupid.  Long run scheduled for Sunday which will be 10 miles.  Two more weeks before my race run.  If I can finish in 1 hour and 20 minutes I will be extremely happy esp since the course is anything but flat, there will be hills, gravel trails, and grass.  If I do not finish in my goal time then I will try not to cry about it too much – lol just a little bit.  Not sure why I am hell-bent on an 8 min/mile pace but that pace is “respectable”.  I’m not even sure why I thought to sign up for these ridiculous distance races this year.  Last year and the year before that, I ran nothing but 5k races.  Anywho, no point complaining about it.  I punctured the 2 blisters on my foot with a alcohol-sterilized needle and squeezed the fluid out of them and wrapped them in a band-aid.  I have made sure to stretch my quads, hams, and butt sufficiently or else suffer the consequences.  I am eating more lean protein which isn’t hard to do since all I ever eat is grilled chicken anyways (or gyros, italian beefs, donuts, fried chicken wings & fries in mild sauce, and chocolate all in moderation though).  I add veggies with more meals now and eat fruit for snacks.  Still trying to drink more water but it isn’t working out too well so I go with any fluid except alcoholic & carbonated drinks.

I got my new issue of Runner’s World magazine today!  It’s sad how excited I get about this magazine.  This month is the Half Marathon issue so I am reading the “how to break the 2 hr time” section.  I will continue my mile repeat workouts for the half marathon in September and maybe add 800 repeats to work on my turnover since too much distance can cause me to lose whatever speed I have.  For a black chick, I can’t run fast at all!  I surely do not fit the stereotype that all black folks run sprints.  Give me some miles any day because it might take me 2 minutes to do a 100 meter dash.  Oh, Mr. D is teaching me how to cut hair lol I’m gonna mess up somebody’s head!  He let me shave his face yesterday.  I did good except I curved his goatee instead of trimming it straight down….rookie mistake.  He was able to fix it so no biggie.  Tonight, I am cutting my nephew’s hair. He wants a mohawk with graphics.  Mr. D will let me do the mohawk (it might be a train wreck) and he will do the graphics.  You know when you’re cutting someone’s hair you are all in their personal space?  I mean literally up in their face.  I bumped my crotch and breast on him while cutting just his face but I’m sure since I’m a girl no one will mind too much.  No work til next Wednesday – woo hoo!  Happy 4th of July!! Say a prayer for those in the armed forces – we tend to forget the reason behind these holidays.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

9.5

Yesterday was my 3rd time running a 9.5 mile route around my neighborhood  – and neighboring neighborhoods.  The first time I just thought to go out and see if I could finish it without breathing up a lung.  I intentionally ran a slow pace to give myself a fighting chance and finished it in 1 hr 15 mins.  Now, I did stop at red lights, traffic signs, slow pedestrians walking hip-t0-hip across sidewalks, and cars weaving through traffic looking for something to hit accidently.  That being said, my 9.5 was not a continuous 9.5 but I claim it still.  The 2nd time I ran this route, I decided to play Make The Light.  This is the game where I pay attention to the upcoming light in my effort to continue running.  If the light in my favor is green I try to “Make The Light” so I am running for a longer period of time without stopping.  If the light in my favor is red then I slow my pace to try giving it time to change back to green.  Both are hard to do because a) I tend to daydream when I run and forget what game I’m playing b) trying to Make The Light is only safe when there isn’t a car trying to do the same and c) slowing my pace waiting for the light to turn green can mean I basically power walk to the intersection.  Some lights I made it for and some I did not.  You win some and you lose some.  Whatever.

Yesterday was 3rd attempt at this distance.  For some reason, the more I run this route the more I get bored, wonder what’s on TV, wonder why my iPod playlist sucks, and wonder why 9.5 miles seem so freaking long!  And, isn’t this distance supposed to get easier after a while?  I thought so too but it seems to get harder.  Playing Make The Light had me back home at 1 hr and 18 mins.  That must mean I took too many rest stops the first time around and 1 hr 20 mins is closer to my fitness level.  Maybe?  Well, yesterday was the same time but about 30 seconds slower.  This 3rd time I played Run Forrest Run.  Like I said earlier, I kinda got bored during my run and was ready to sit my lazy tail down so I thought to make up a speed game so I’d get it over with sooner.  Run Forrest Run was supposed to be me running fast through the next street light.  That work fine until I underestimated how far away that street light was.  So, the next leg of the game, I ran fast for 1 minute instead.  The longest minute ever!  I kept looking down at my watch wondering why the seconds were moving so slowly.  But, after each leg I felt my chest and lungs working harder than they had in all three 9.5 runs together so it felt good but I still got home later than I anticipated.  Oh well.

No running tomorrow since both kids are out of school.  No running Friday because I work from the office that day and running early in the morning while leaving the kids home alone is kinda illegal.  I may run Saturday but I highly doubt it.  I will have to be late that night.  Sunday is definitely a run day but that’s too many days since my last run.  Kinda sucks but what else can I do?  I will end this post will all the annoying things people have done while I was out for a run.  Some people have talked to me as if I will honestly stop running to hold a conversation.  One guy even asked me for the time.  I guess since I have this bright gold watch on my wrist but seriously?!  I’m in the middle of something here.  I told him the time anyways.  Other people ask if they can run with me.  Sure.  I find that most women stare really hard like I have 3 boobs, 3 eyes, 3 legs, 3 heads….3 something.  I mean they stare like they just found out I had sex with their husbands.  I almost wanna ask if they know me or if I seriously did something to them.  Or when people hog the sidewalks which I guess they should since they are technically pedestrians but they huff when I run around them.  It’s either run into you or around you.  Some guy selling melons out the back of this truck asked if I wanted to buy any even telling me they were on sale.  Gee, I’d love to but I don’t have any melon-sized pockets and only enough room in my bra for my 2 keys.  He told me to try and stop by later….now, that made more sense.  And my favorite question ever: what are you running for?  I just assumed the workout wear, running shoes, and watch would indicate that I run for sport or sheer exercise but I guess that’s not obvious enough.  Some dumb moments I just act like I didn’t hear them because the music from my iPod was just that loud.  It’s rude but “dumb” has a limit which people seem to surpass every single day.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Run

Extremely humid today! Nothing compared to the south but I don’t live there so I deal with what I am accustomed to.  The week before last, I did a 6 mile run at 45 minutes which is where I left off before the 2010 winter season so I was really proud of myself.  I am spending more time stretching instead of totally bypassing it and I try to drink more water but that is seriously not working out too well.  Last week, I did the same 6 mile route but it was after almost 9 days with no physical activity so my legs were slow to start, slow to get going, and slow to move in general leaving me at home about 49 minutes later.  Yes, it’s just 4 or so minutes slower than the previous week but 4 minutes is a lot of time when it comes to running.  Today, I tried to drink more water which, again, was a total bust but I tried even forcing myself to drink.  Made it outside and it was not really hot as much as it was humid.  My legs were slow but they came alive eventually only because I didn’t push my pace since the air was dry.  My breathing was great.  Conversational pace the entire time so that was exactly what I was aiming to do.  Just run relaxed and run long instead of hard. 

That said, instead of the 6 miles I planned to finish, I only finished 4 miles in 37 minutes.  Not a good time but I made it home and dang near threw a party when I did.  I stretched and reminded myself to stretch on days when I don’t run much since keeping my legs limber helps my stride which helps my turnover which helps the fluidity of my overall running ability.  That tight feeling as if I have been doing squats is not a good feeling when you have a long run before you.  Thursday should be a good running day.  About 75 degrees, cloudy, and less humid….my kinda day!  My best weather is 60+ degrees though.  I ran in the same itty bitty shorts and fitted tank so the wind felt cool against my skin but it made any fatigue feel like heaven because I wasn’t hot.  I do not do well when I get hot which is why I hardly wear anything during the summer but at least I hardly sweat (which is prb a bad thing).  Not because I’m hooch or like to dress hoochie.  I get hot!  I keep the key areas covered (which isn’t hard to do) and let everything else out to breathe.  The good thing is that I am not overweight so nothing looks distasteful.  Some might appreciate my non-booty region shorts but I would appreciate some of that Chicago wind every now and then….can’t have everything your way.

**TMI moment** I do not know many distance runners personally but I wonder if anyone experience what I do sometimes.  While running mile after mile after exhausting mile, your thighs often rub together creating a decent amount of friction (depending on weight too).  Well, I actually had an upper inner thigh burn because the cotton shorts I was wearing often were rubbing against my skin and, since I don’t have much inner thigh fat or cushion, it stung a good deal.  Skin burn isn’t the issue here.  Orgasmic sensations are though.  I swear the rubbing of my inner thighs against the fabric of my shorts makes this happen and I almost have to stop running till the moment pass.  I never have but it feels like I might have to.  Anywho, maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I am just that sensitive and get “sensations” with little effort.  Ok, I’ll chalk that up to another characteristic I share with no one but myself.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Silver Lining

Olympic MedalsA 2nd place winner is a 1st place loser…too bad I don’t care.  I ran my first 5K in two yrs yesterday morning and I felt all kinda things before, during, and after.  Before I was cool but as it got closer to race time I got nervous.  I was sitting alone because I didn’t come with anyone and I didn’t know anyone there plus I didn’t wanna participate in nervous how-good-of-a-runner-are-you conversations with other participants so I went to jog for a few minutes outside and came back in to stretch in a corner on the far side of the room.  Next to me were 2 guys one who had a nervous smile on his face when he asked if this was my first 5K.  I explained the 2 yr hiatus and he said it was his first time running the 5K but him and his boy play football.  I was thinking in my head that football and a 5K were two different things but I knew they were running for fitness purposes only.  He said I looked like I do this a lot…..race.  He said I looked like a pro.  Yeah, don’t know what kinda vibes I was giving off but they were completely erroneous.  Anywho, at the end of the race, he found me and asked what my time was.  I said 24:40 and he said his was 29 mins with a sad face…I told him that was still good and we went our separate ways.  At the starting line with 15 mins til the gun went off, I had to pee.  You just hate crap like this!  Always empty your bladder, bowels, and nasal passages right before a race because this can screw you up big time when you have to worry about mother nature and race too.  I ran inside to pee but there was a line at the women’s bathroom and I’m thinking, “did y’all just get here?! it’s 15 mins before the start!” so I walk into the men’s bathroom.  Two guys were standing at the urinals, two were sitting/chatting/changing for the race (with no impulse to make the 15 min deadline), and both stalls were empty.  I walked into one and was about to pull down my shorts when I realized there were no freakin frackin doors!!  I asked one of the guys sitting there where the hell the doors were (like he stole them or something) and he said there aren’t any.  Great!  I walked out and prayed I didn’t have to pee mid-race and not a guy said anything to me as if a girl in a guy’s bathroom was common practice. 

During the run, my mind was driving me nuts!  It wouldn’t stop thinking, analyzing times, and breaking down people standing nearby as if I could decode their athletic abilities by their body shape.  If I saw a chick with a huge gut I knew she couldn’t be faster than me with all that extra weight.  If I saw a chick with an ipod and earbuds in her ears I knew she wasn’t a serious runner thus no competition.  If I saw a chick with her boyfriend I knew they were doing a couple run for fun.  If I saw a chick with full athletic gear and decent running shoes but not a muscle or a muscular cut anywhere I wrote her off too.  If I saw a chick with a long sleeve Underarmor shirt and a hat on in decently warm weather I knew she was more interested in dressing to impersonate a runner than actually training to be one.  Coincidently, none of those chicks beat me to the finish line.  I did all this at the starting line in the middle of the crowd about to scream because then someone said “ssssh” and I heard the gun go off.  Here I was in the middle of a pack of people about to step on the back of at least 15 feet as I attempted to make some room for my legs to at least extend out in front of me.  While trying to make room for my own stride, a chick in front of me stepped on the back of someone’s shoe and hit the pavement hard.  I leaped over her, thanked God I was paying attention, and kept on running.  My mind told me to slow down but my body was feeling good since the crowd was moving and I had no idea where the mile marker was to know how to gauge my pace until the crowd thinned out, I saw nothing but guys around me and maybe 5 chicks, and I looked up to see 6:45 on the one mile marker clock.  I looked down at my wristwatch thinking that’s gotta be wrong but, nope, same time dang near so I gave into what my mind was screaming and slowed down but it was too late by then…..I had exerted my body too early and depleted any reserves to finish in a decent time.  Yes, I went under 25 mins but I’m Bunny….I like to break my own goal for myself just to say I’m that dang good.  I realized eventually that I was the only black chick near the front of the pack and I couldn’t remember if I’d seen anyone who looked to be about my age so I could gauge where I was as far as the 25-29 yo women runners were concerned but I did place 2nd in my age group and now I know to run smarter instead of harder next week.  That’s right, I have a race one week from today at 8am with a field much faster than this race so me getting a medal is very slim.  I just wanna redeem my rookie mistakes from this one, lower my time, and I’ll be satisfied since I’m getting cool goodie bags 🙂 

Now, I’m nervous.  People on Facebook ask me running questions, advice, tips, or other things since they assume I should know how to start running.  That’s fine but every now and then I get nervous thinking I won’t know the answer so I tell them what works for me which is difficult because I can be difficult on myself because I know my body’s cues….a novice does not.  I know when I don’t good, when I feel achy, when I’m doing too much, when my muscles are sore from too little use, when I need to focus on endurance more than stamina, and I know the difference between the two.  Today, one of my friends walked up to me and said “I heard you finished the marathon” and I did a nervous laugh because I hate that distance without ever having ran it so I don’t wanna be confused as a marathoner.  Anywho, she wants to run with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I looked at her face and saw she was serious as heck.  The problem?  I haven’t ran with anyone since high school and, even then, if you could keep up you kept up and if you couldn’t you ran at your own pace.  She said she wants to work on her endurance….fantastic.  I told her I run 6.5 miles on those days and that’s my plan for this week since I have a race this weekend again.  It’s not nervousness because people are asking me things and wanting to run with me.  It’s nervousness because I feel like a coach and I don’t want that at all.  I don’t have a coach.  I remember what workouts I did in high school, what those workouts helped me strengthen, and I know what I need to do to get my body in fitter shape and healthier shape to get a PR.  I don’t know how to do those things with people anymore and that’s why I love running so much….it’s an individual effort with a team spirit.  We cheer each other on but, in the end, it’s about how bad YOU want it and I can’t teach that.  I can’t coach drive.  You either complain about the distance and do it or you complain about the distance and don’t do it. 

This is my passion and, although I don’t make money doing it, I train like I do and I give my all as if I will one day.  I love PRs.  I love the love from runner to runner.  I love the grit of feeling like your left butt cheek is permanently clenched while you feel like the right one has fallen from your body completely.  I love feeling like my chest is on fire.  I love negotiating with my legs to just pick it up a tad bit more and fighting with my body as my eyes see the finish line and my body is like “you must be crazy!”  I love seeing people fall and get back up.  I love seeing the silly t-shirts and funny signs along the course that make me laugh and remember why I love to run.  One sign yesterday said, “this was such a great idea weeks ago” and I almost lol’d in mid-stride because I was just thinking “why did I talk yourself into doing this?!”  This week, like I said earlier, 6.5 runs for endurance since it’s not taxing on my body with a faster 5K next Sunday morning in the Bucktown ‘hood.  After that, hill repeats and intervals for stamina and strength once a week for the next 3 or 4 weeks.  Wanna make a mile feel like nothing?  Run some hills often and that incline will rip your thighs into shape so when your feet touch a semi-flat surface it’ll feel like you’re coasting with lil effort.  Wanna learn how to “feel” your pace w/o a clock?  Train your body to recognize how it feels at different speeds while training it to run alternately at those different speeds so you’ll know when you feel like you’re off pace (like I did for my 6:45 mile) and when you’ve shot your pace to hell (like I did for the final mile).  I don’t have to do all this just to run and enjoy being a runner but I wanna get into the precious 19 min group just to say I can do it and I remember how it felt to run at whatever speed I wanted and at any distance I wanted knowing my body could perform.  Next week, 8 min mile splits…start slow and finish on time which will guarantee me a 24 min time.  But, me being me, I’m secretly shooting for 23.  Anyone who wants to run with me can meet me on the corner outside my apartment ready to go.

September 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment